About Wayne Mullins
It’s 9 o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday at the Tamp and Grind coffee shop in Alexandria. Although the morning rush has passed, several people quickly drop in and out for their morning java jolt, while a few locals with some time to spare enjoy a leisurely conversation near the front window.
No one pays much attention to the young guy sitting alone at one of the copper-top tables. He’s typing on a laptop while occasionally sipping some hot tea. Wearing blue jeans and a pair of Chuck Taylors, most patrons would probably assume he was enjoying a day off, browsing the web for fun.
But that’s not the case at all.
Wayne Mullins is working. This coffee shop just happens to be one of his favorite places to conduct business. You see, his company, affectionately called Ugly Mug Marketing, is a business that can go wherever Mullins goes.
In fact, Mullins, 34, and his family, will be spending the entire month of September in Costa Rica. Yet, Ugly Mug Marketing will continue to be open for business. Once he’s in Central America, Mullins will likely be seen at local coffee shops in Costa Rican cities such as San José or Santa Teresa, running his business in flip-flops.
Or you may find him on a beach, reading a book on marketing, behavioral psychology or neuro-linguistic programming. Mullins is a voracious reader, normally consuming a book every other week. Sometimes every week.
He’s a sharp guy, who has done his homework, yet he’s approachable, keeping a level of humility along with an attitude that’s always eager to learn more. In other words, he listens. Some of the many business leaders who inspire Mullins include Ari Weinzweig, Robert Cialdini, Tim Ferriss, and Dan Kennedy.
Their advice, along with all that reading he’s doing, must be working for Mullins and his business, because despite the fact that Ugly Mug Marketing has spent less than $300 on traditional advertising since it began three and a half years ago, this business has grown annually by an impressive 100 percent each year.
Ugly Mug Marketing is a web development and marketing company that doesn’t need a traditional office filled with employees to get things done. Their business model is based on “outsourcing.” In laymen’s terms, this means hiring people outside of your company to provide the skills needed to serve clients and get things done.
Thanks to the internet, this business model works. The new, modern approach of outsourcing enables Mullins to multiply his personal expertise and time by accessing a team of freelance web developers, graphic designers and copywriters from around the globe. Having a select pool of talent available like this, regardless of their geographic location, allows clients to be matched with freelancers who have just the right skill set. This helps make clients happy, according to Mullins.
Is it a perfect business model? No. Not having your hired help available right down the hall from you can occasionally create a headache from a management standpoint.
But Mullins is committed to outsourcing for some very personal reasons that are dear to him. “The way Ugly Mug Marketing works provides me with more time to spend with my wife and three children. So why would I want to operate using the old, traditional ways of doing business that only takes you away from your family?”
When asked about the unusual name Ugly Mug Marketing, Mullins says it was inspired by a quote from a legend in the advertising world. “David Ogilvy, who knew a few things about marketing and advertising, once said something like, ‘It’s better to have an ugly ad that gets results than a cool, creative ad that doesn’t.’ That may not be the exact quote, but it’s a philosophy that I’m committed to.”
Getting results for their clients is Ugly Mug Marketing’s primary objective, says Mullins. “That’s what makes us different than most. We approach business with something called the strategy of preeminence, which is simply putting the clients’ needs first. We view our relationship with our clients the same way an attorney views their client relationships. The attorney’s job is to put the best interest of their client first. We bring this same philosophy to the table.”
Many companies today spend a lot of time “working on their image.” The old-school business model is quick to hire image consultants, brand strategists, and public relations experts to make sure the outside of the business looks impressive.
But Ugly Mug Marketing embraces a completely new business approach that focuses their resources on satisfied customers. Yes, they have a logo, but it’s unlike any logo you have seen before. Forgoing the slick, corporate look, Ugly Mug’s quirky topographic logo design can definitely be considered “different.” But there’s much more to the core of this business, besides the unusual logo, that grabs the attention of people looking for help with web development or marketing—like the way Mullins and his team puts their clients’ needs above their own.
Here is one example of this: Ugly Mug Marketing actually turns away clients who are ready to pay lots of money for a new website.
Yes, you read that correctly.
You see, if the Ugly Mug team determines that a new website is not the right thing to do for a client, they will actually tell them so, instead of taking the money and letting the client flounder with a website they were not prepared to handle.
“We recently had a client wanting an e-commerce website that would have cost them around ten thousand dollars. Through our conversations, we determined that the client was ‘wearing rose-colored glasses,’ thinking that building an e-commerce site would magically grow their business. I could see they weren’t willing or ready to make it all work successfully, so we explained to them why we thought a new website wasn’t needed.”
How often do you see a business do this? Rarely.
Another aspect that makes Ugly Mug Marketing unique is the free advice given out on their blog—www.MarketingConfessions.com. This is where Mullins shares the marketing secrets he’s learned along the way, and continues to learn. This blog has an annual readership of fifty thousand visitors, which isn’t surprising once you see the excellent design and read the content that’s provided.
In fact, you will find free information regularly offered, like the current free course on building a business. The sign up says you can learn such things as how to grow your business by learning ten steps to successful outsourcing, how to position yourself as an expert in your field, and eight steps to radically change your life.
The blog appears to be doing the right things, as marketing guru Seth Godin and business coach Marie Forleo have been known to leave comments.
But Mullins isn’t stopping with his blog. He has also recently released a new book titled, So You Have a Website…Now What?, which focuses on how a business can get the most out of their website. Some of the content of the book will include tips on how to drastically improve your conversion rate, some proven ways to get traffic to your website in less than two hours, and how to get visitors back to your website again and again.
Sounds like a good read while sipping a latte’ at your local coffee shop.
Just remember this the next time you stop by your favorite java joint… You could be sitting in an Ugly Mug Marketing office and not even know it.
If you see a guy at the next table, casually dressed, and talking on his cell phone about some elaborate marketing campaign, it just might be Wayne Mullins.
“If you are looking for design or development services, Ugly Mug Marketing is a great solution. Wayne and his team are honest, fair, and reasonably priced. Best of all, they deliver the work on time.”